Comfort vs. Common Good

I’ve debated this blog post for at least two weeks (which explains the fact that there was no post last week). Well, here it is. I decided to make this short and hope you’ll at least think about if and how it applies to you.

Heike Martin Photography

Stay-at-home policies aren’t comfortable. I am comfortable when I can go where I want (without getting sick, of course). I am comfortable lounging at Panera bread with a cinnamon crunch bagel and an iced tea with five slices of lemon. I am comfortable when I can hug my friends at church or at my networking groups. I am comfortable when I make my own choices.

But in a pandemic what matters isn’t really my comfort, it’s the common good.

And that’s a pretty biblical concept.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—
but not everything is beneficial. 
“I have the right to do anything”—
but not everything is constructive.  
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
I Corinthians 10:23–24 (NIV)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind regard one another
as more important than yourselves; 
do not merely look out for your own personal interests,
but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3–4 (NASB)

For you have been called to live in freedom,
my brothers and sisters.
But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13 (NLT)

So as your state or county does or doesn’t open up (or fights about opening up), as the new normal doesn’t look like we think it should, all I ask of you—and of me—is that we consider the common good, which Jesus summed up in three words—Love one another.

15 thoughts on “Comfort vs. Common Good”

  1. Reflective… again it comes down to kindness.. kindness towards others.. kindness towards ourselves as well


  2. Carol, thanks for cutting through all the noise and sharing a simple, but not easy, message.
    “Love one another.” What does that look like for each of us in our world today?

    • Thanks, Suzette. I need to be reminded often that I am to first choose love for the other over love for myself. Seldom easy to implement.

  3. Like You, I LOVE Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch bagels, and their Asiago Cheese. I never get anything but one or the other of those 2.

  4. Thank you for this, Carol. Your words and guidance reflect words that I came upon years ago offered to me from a coach-mentor and that I counter-share often with others when faced with choice, that is “what would Love do?”

  5. Hi Carol – I was so glad to see these Bible verses as I’ve been reading a lot about liberty as it pertains the U.S. history and to the COVID and seeking the common good vs. individual good has been a thread running through U.S. history. In reading this it was obvious that seeking the common good also pertains to Christianity. In case you’re interested I’ve been following Heather Cox Richardson on FB. She is a history professor at Boston University and has two weekly talks broadcast on FB. She is endlessly interesting and I’ve learned so much. She also has a short daily podcast at which is about how history pertains to current events. I think you would like her.

  6. A great principle we should all attempt to live by. I would simply say (or ask) this. What is the “common good” and who decides. IMO the situation we find ourselves in today makes the idea of “The common good” much larger or (or wider) than certain “experts” may be thinking because they come to the table as “an expert” in their respective fields. And there are other “experts” in other fields that disagree. We must listen to all and make judgments. A particular Christian may think loving her neighbor as herself means not working whereas her neighbor may think loving her employees means opening her business so they don’t go hungry. Things aren’t always black and white. Certainly not in a time like this.


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